Wednesday 21 September, 2011

programpic121.9What began as a regional outreach program run by the Music in Communities Award winning Leichhardt Expresso Chorus has grown into a cultural highlight on the calendar of north-western NSW. This multi-arts festival, under the artistic direction of Michelle Leonard, has grassroots community music making at its heart. The Music in Communities Network is please to be able to offer you a glimpse into the heart of this wonderful festival as we "live blog" daily for the course of the festival from 23rd to 25th September.


Wednesday the 22nd of September was D’Day for the arrival of all the Moorambilla Regional Girls and Boys Choir and the MAXed OUT children, Taikoz was also in tow.

Everyone arrived at around 12pm and were in rehearsals by 1.15pm, having traversed quit a few kilometres from different camping venues on foot!  This is an extraordinary feat with around 178 children and 20 or so volunteer adult helpers to co-ordinate. Everything went like clockwork - a logistic miracle - with everyone arriving on site with all they needed, well prepared and ready to work hard!


pic221.9The MAXed OUT began rehearsing at the Anglican Church with Dan Walker and the four members of Taikoz, while the Voices ensemble rehearsed in the Baradine Hall experiencing the Michelle Leonard magic.

When they all came together at the end of the day true music was made and everyone felt the impact of the combined sound. We know it is it working when the hairs stand up on your arms and the volunteering parents cry…

pic321.9When the flagship Sydney Youth Orchestra arrived the Moorambilla kids actually ran onto their bus to welcome them in true regional style! Everyone was excited to meet the Sydney contingent and show them true country hospitality. Thursday saw the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus and the Sydney Brass arrive to build the full force of 178 Regional Moorambilla Voices choir; 40 Leichhardt Espresso Chorus; 50 Sydney Youth Orchestra flagship; 5 Sydney Brass and 4 TaikOz - nearly 300 performers ready to rock the town! We have increased the population of Baradine by a third….


As I type this Michelle is running through a new work written for this festival by Australian composer Gerard Brophy - the ‘Moorambilla Dawn Suite” written about the landscape of the Macquarie marshes, the night sky and the wonderful colourful dawn you get out here… quite the backdrop. Gerard grew up in this area and knows the landscape and its mystery intimately.